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Ball Stuff...

The only question that remains about Richard Pitino's men's basketball coaching staff is who the African-American assistant will be.

Pitino's already hired former longtime Pace High coach Mark Lieberman and Mike Balado of FIU, UM and Miami-Dade Community College. But trying to recruit in basketball without a black coach is like going into a WWF Battle Royale and tossing your competitors all your foreign objects. It'll be used against you at every turn, in ways you never expect. Then, there's the whole can-relate-to-the-player thing.

Barry University assistant coach Michael Bradley, who knows the South Florida recruiting scene well, is a possibility. And Bradley certainly would strengthen FIU's pull in South Florida, which has always been wispy at best.

Expect that decision before summer basketball practices start.


FIU offered defensive end Tevin Jones of Locust Grove (Ga.) Luella High.


Georgia's like Louisiana, where FIU's gotten some mid-level ranked talent away from the local schools: not densely populated, but what there is runs dense with good players, enough to feed many programs.  Don't be surprised if FIU goes Harlan County there as well as Louisiana.




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